Against Gray Mirror and in Favor of Political Action

Submitted by Withered Rose

Albeit expressed in earlier writings, namely in Unqualified Reservations, Yarvin makes his most serious criticism of any political action in Gray Mirror of the Nihilist Prince. At the core of his argument is the contention that any and all political action only strengthens the very regime a dissident would aim to oppose. Yarvin summarizes his argument as follows:

“Our general theory of collaboration boils down to: under the modern regime, all voluntary collective action promotes power. Anyone whose subjective intent is to act collectively, with power or against it, is objectively reinforcing power. Whichever side you’re on: it’s a trap.”[1]

At the same time Yarvin tells us,

“The theory cannot be exactly right, and it isn’t. As anyone would expect from any generalization so broad, there are exceptions. There are no easy exceptions—so there is no obvious way to avoid the theory. The message is not that the traps cannot be avoided—but that if you lack some strategy to avoid them, you are in one.”[2]

What is the argument? That all political action is collaboration with the regime. All action? Not quite, there are some exceptions that Yarvin hints at, but these are not “easy”.

How does Yarvin support his theory? What foundation does it rest upon? The answer is: sovereignty. If a regime is sovereign, then all political action, by definition, must be collaborative. As explained by Yarvin:

“Voluntary individual collaboration in collective action always involves supporting, subjectively and/or objectively, some cause. Such a cause must plan to either influence the regime, or work around it. By definition, every sovereign regime holds a monopoly of collective action. A regime that tolerates or encourages unofficial collective action—action neither with power, nor against it—is just taking ownership of it. Therefore, all unofficial collective action is with power. Or at least, a healthy regime disrupts all collective action against it.”[3]

If I am working for cause, let us say that I want to shift the center of the United Sates’ economy from multi-national corporations to locally owned businesses, I will, presumably, want this cause to succeed. Obvious enough, right? Well, what would success look like for my cause? There would need to be the utilization of state power. Wait. “The utilization of state power”? Who is it that determines how state power is utilized? The current regime. In advancing my cause I am collaborating with the regime. This is not an exaggeration, because if the regime is truly sovereign, and if the regime wants to preserve itself, which of course it does, then it will only allow state power to be used to empower the regime. If my cause threatens the regime, and if the regime is sovereign, then my cause will never be allowed to succeed. If my cause succeeds, then it does not threaten the regime and, since all sovereign regimes only allow causes to succeed if they further empower the regime, then I am actively helping the regime I am attempting to oppose. What this means is that political action will either, a) never succeed, or b) will strengthen the current regime. Either we get more of the same or…we get more of the same.

How is this not a damning critique? Yarvin has set up a seemingly airtight argument that renders any and all collective action either null and void, or collaborative with the regime. If an action succeeds, then it benefits the regime. If an action does not succeed…well, it failed, and really does not deserve our attention. This airtight logic is rather odd when you think about it, because surely there ought to be some mention of a regime’s goals? Right? People run a government because they wish to achieve some set of goals, even if those goals are simply to profit from the office. What does the American regime, and, by extension, the global regime, want? To figure this out we will need to dive into a regime classic, Tragedy and Hope. Carrol Quigley, in his tome, gives an overview of what the Atlanticists (this is the old self-descriptive label of the global elites) want to achieve and why. First off, they want to “save Western Civilization.” Yes, really.

“Can our way of life survive? Is our civilization doomed to vanish, as did that of the Incas, the Sumerians, and the Romans? From Giovanni Battista Vico in the early eighteenth century to Oswald Spengler in the early twentieth century and Arnold J. Toynbee in our own day, men have been puzzling over the problem whether civilizations have a life cycle and follow a similar pattern of change.”[4]

Why would our way of life not survive? What is threatening Western Civilization? All civilizations have lived out the same cyclical history, according to Quigley, a cycle that consists of:

“Each civilization is born in some inexplicable fashion and, after a slow start, enters a period of vigorous expansion, increasing its size and power, both internally and at the expense of its neighbors, until gradually a crisis of organization appears. When this crisis has passed and the civilization has been reorganized, it seems somewhat different. Its vigor and morale have weakened. It becomes stabilized and eventually stagnant. After a Golden Age of peace and prosperity, internal crises again arise. At this point there appears, for the first time, a moral and physical weakness which raises, also for the first time, questions about the civilization’s ability to defend itself against external enemies. Racked by internal struggles of a social and constitutional character, weakened by loss of faith in its older ideologies and by the challenge of newer ideas incompatible with its past nature, the civilization grows steadily weaker until it is submerged by outside enemies, and eventually disappears.”[5]

At the center of a civilization’s life, the “period of vigorous expansion”, there is a common pattern:

“The Age of Expansion is generally marked by four kinds of expansion: (1) of population, (2) of geographic area, (3) of production, and (4) of knowledge. The expansion of production and the expansion of knowledge give rise to the expansion of population, and the three of these together give rise to the expansion of geographic extent. This geographic expansion is of some importance because it gives the civilization a kind of nuclear structure made up of an older core area (which had existed as part of the civilization even before the period of expansion) and a newer peripheral area (which became part of the civilization only in the period of expansion and later). If we wish, we can make, as an additional refinement, a third, semi-peripheral area between the core area and the fully peripheral area.”[6]

Following the Age of Expansion is the Age of Conflict, which consolidates the civilization in question into a singular entity,

“In most civilizations the long-drawn agony of the Age of Conflict finally ends in a new period, the Age of the Universal Empire. As a result of the imperialist wars of the Age of Conflict, the number of political units in the civilization are reduced by conquest. Eventually one emerges triumphant. When this occurs we have one political unit for the whole civilization. Just at the core area passes from the Age of Expansion to the Age of Conflict earlier than the peripheral areas, sometimes the core area is conquered by a single state before the whole civilization is conquered by the Universal Empire. When this occurs the core empire is generally a semi-peripheral state, while the Universal Empire is generally a peripheral state.”[7]

Because the civilization is now a singular political entity, if that entity falls then the entirety of that civilization falls. America is the obvious candidate for a Universal Empire, and it being geographically located on the periphery of Western Civilization is no small indicator of this fact. What threatens Western Civilization, then, is America becoming the next Universal Empire. To prevent this means to temper the four areas of expansion mentioned earlier by Quigley: “(1) of population, (2) of geographic area, (3) of production, and (4) of knowledge.” If we take Quigley at his word, then this is the goal of the regime. Before we can return to Yarvin, we need to look at specifically how these areas of expansion can be tempered. Note that the following methods are not the only means to temper expansion, but only seem to be the means deployed today:

Population: Introduce contraceptives, legalize abortion, divert a portion of the population who would otherwise produce offspring towards non-reproductive sexual activities (pornography, homosexual relationships, casual sex), and de-normalize the heterosexual marriage as the place of sexuality.

Geographic Area: Decolonialize, engage in wars with the aim of turning the American population’s support away from foreign intervention and turn the international community against American intervention, and maintain a steady decline of military capacity.

Production: Outsource manufacturing, shift the economy away from production and towards service, close domestic energy sites and import foreign energy.

Knowledge: Utilize integration, “wokeness”, and “political correctness” to a) shift the goal of universities away from research and towards providing opportunities for the historically disenfranchised, and b) place an ideological limit on what can, and cannot, be published in research.

Seem familiar? If Quigley was not being honest about the goals of the regime, the global elite, then it would be quite the coincidence that the policies being pushed by the regime all just so happen to collaborate with Quigley’s desire to “save” the West. Yes, abortion, outsourcing jobs, catastrophic wars in the Middle East, and the dumbing down the universities are how we “save” the West.

Simply put, the current regime is not in power just because they thought it would be fun, they are in power because they have a stated goal, and they want to accomplish it. When Yarvin says that a sovereign regime has a monopoly on collaborative action, that a sovereign regime only allows collaborative action to succeed that benefits the regime, we have to take him to mean the following:

Although it is the stated goal of the regime to push abortion, outsource jobs, get involved in catastrophic wars, and dumb down universities, when it looks like Roe v Wade will be overturned, when jobs are brought back home, when America stays out of war with Iran, when universities are unshackled from ideology…this all benefits the regime.

Do you see how sovereign the regime is? Even when its goals are squashed, its goals are achieved! Sovereignty is the monopoly of collaborative action, yes, and we now see that sovereignty is capable of stopping the regime. How then, do we understand this fact? How does a sovereign regime act simultaneously as the sovereign, and the regime? The former acts against that later, or so it seems. Do we not have an analogue to the Trinity? Is not the sovereign regime both one and two at the same time? Only this time, there is not a will common to the ousia, but only the hypostases have wills, and it is only on occasion that these wills coincide. If we insist on Yarvin’s definition of sovereignty, then we have to ascribe to an atheist Jew a weirdly (heretical) Trinitarian view of the regime. Unless we simply say that Yarvin is wrong, that there are times where the goals of the regime can be obstructed via political action, we have to assert that the sovereign regime can fight itself, the sovereign obstructing the regime. We have to assert that neither part of the heretical Yarvinite Trinity is sovereign, under is definition, and that this regime is, in practice, actually two.

[1] #2: the inaction imperative – Gray Mirror (

[2] ibid

[3] ibid

[4] T&H 14

[5] T&H 14, 15

[6] T&H 15

[7] T&H 16, 17

17 Comments Add yours

  1. E M Lowden says:

    Can we all just finally be humble enough to admit we got bamboozled and Moldbug was a fraud? Why is anyone still giving this charlatan subversive the time of day? He said some interesting things. So did Foucault. If we learn anything from reading old books, as the first principle of Neoreaction enjoins us to do, it is that sometimes the value of an author is determined by his intent as well as the fruits of his work.

    When St. Bonaventure finished his biography of St. Francis, it was one of perhaps a half dozen books on the subject in circulation. The Order of Friars Minor and the Papacy were so impressed with its content that all previous biographies were proscribed and burned, to guarantee that St. Bonaventure’s book was the only one people read. None of those books were in themselves dangerous to the Faith, but their fruits paled so much in comparison to St. Bonaventure that they were deemed unworthy of survival.

    Moldbug is dead, and his wares have been revealed as snake oil, his cures a placebo. Demitte mortuos sepelire mortuos suos.


  2. Cameron says:

    I have a couple few questions. 1.) Are the methods of tempering expansion listed above suggested by Quigley, or are they Withered Rose’s observations, being given as suggestions of applied methodology? 2.) Is concluding that the methods of tempering expansion listed above are the end goals of the regime an equivocation with the goal stated by Quigley? i.e. homosex and murder, street-shitting tech employees, newspeak professors, auto-foil military campaigns = the salvation of Western Civ. Or, are they merely means by which a goal is achieved? If yes, then can opposing methods such as non abortion principals and revitalizing native industry be used to check and balance progress? Like reducing the intensity of the flame boiling the frog’s bath water. It seems like not fighting a war in Iran could be the fruition of the plan to self-destruct American imperialism. As far as the trinity analogue goes, …what? Maybe, and inversion of the hypostatic union? Even then, how do you come to the conclusion that sovereignty is an entity in and of itself? All in all, good read. Thank you for writing.


    1. GDR says:

      How do/did the Atlantacists define “Western Civilization”? Interracial gay hemsex for thee, inherited bureaucratic jobs for me?

      Seems like you’re all making this way more complicated than it really is. Call a scam a scam.


      1. Cameron says:

        That’s another good point. Western Civ. can’t be saved by implementing homosex. I think Quigley must have been using it as a euphemism.


  3. BaboonTycoon says:

    I think both could be the case and indeed the passivism idea never seemed consistent with the other tenets of reaction. Even the cursory observation that activism’s peripheral effects – networking, doctoring public image – are at least as important if not more important than applying pressure to institutions disputes the idea. And to this I have not seen a response. If no current Schelling points exist, activism allows us to create them, and our own terms. If nothing else, It is useful for that alone.


    1. GDR says:

      Libtards didn’t follow Moldbugs prescriptions to get power, why should we? If it works, steal it.


  4. Hiya says:

    Who would think a Jewish Internet Nerd with ethnic chip on his shoulder against heritage American kulaks would lead us astray…


  5. GDR says:

    Moldbug was IIRC ridiculed off MPC for his 888, which is reason enough for me to distrust him.

    I think Covfefe Anon called him an apologist for Jewish managerialists whose golems have their boots planted firmly on our necks.

    Sounds right to me.


  6. bannedhipster says:

    Thankfully someone is finally pointing out the obvious about Curtis Yarvin.

    I’ve been one lonely voice – two solid years now – of almost daily posting about how the Neo-Cons at The Atlantic started Yarvin’s “Mencius Moldbug” blog. Whitney Webb quite likely showed that Yarvin’s brother may have been a part of a post-911 “false flag” terrorist attack to be blamed on Muslims at Yale.

    Yarvin is from a State Department – i.e., Intel – family and he is funded by the Paypal Mafia, especially “Godfather of Neo-Cons” Bill Kristol’s protege Peter Thiel.

    And that the Claremont Institute is the Kristol/Neo-Con front group that has funded the entire so-called “Dissident Right” for over five years now – they have fifty podcasts and a hundred blogs including some of the most high profile on the “Dissident Right.”

    When moms staged their coup at the School Boards Yarvin told them to shut up and sit down they were just demoralizing everyone.


    1. GDR says:

      Can you drop a link to your writings on this?

      I think someone on had something about Yarvin’s older brother, or maybe it was a mainstream company. It’s odd that Yarvin hasn’t suffered the same slings and arrows that others among us have, despite being almost as bigoted as we are and a namephag.

      What was Yarvin’s take on the Canadian Trucker’s strike?


  7. The-Long-Warred says:

    Yarvin is most honest when he admits he’s a coward , and he is positively obsessed with his physical safety.

    Then there’s his family, whom he denounced in writing as traitors.

    The effects of Yarvin are to snarkily chronicle our own degradation and destruction, and to say he bears open contempt for the Kulaks and love of his own class of managerialists is to understate the matter.

    Enough! At best good if dated diagnosis (he doesn’t see the Contractor Class which is THE most important post cold war development) and his diagnosis of a world that is passing is partly correct he has no prescriptions.

    This is a cowardly son of a criminal family- or Communist if you like – and should be regarded as all turncoats are – you may need or like their betrayal, never like or trust the traitor.


  8. Patrick Gibbs says:

    Yarvin is good as contrarian historian but garbage as political commentator, and these latter category of writings do not deserve to be taken seriously


  9. Patrick WWWW says:

    I think the apparent logical error in Yarvin’s work is the paradox of governmental validity, which is really just a problem of strategy. Any action against the state, when sufficiently opposed, reinforces thier image of authority. Because the state has sole discretion on when to oppose public action, Yes, it can indeed, make all means conducive to its own ends.

    When you think about this paradox as a strategic problem to be solved, its a problem of wanting to besiege a fortress, but having no safe place to maneuver in. What remains is to consider assymetric options such as attrition and other guerilla warfare. Substitute this answer back into our original equation, and the winning move is this: Join the Party, and make bad things happen. Sabotage via public office, malicious incompetence, outright dereliction of duty. These would do actual damage to the state system from the inside, but for obvious reasons Yarvin cannot tell people this is the solution.


    1. GDR says:

      >What remains is to consider assymetric options such as attrition and other guerilla warfare. Substitute this answer back into our original equation, and the winning move is this: Join the Party, and make bad things happen. Sabotage via public office, malicious incompetence, outright dereliction of duty. These would do actual damage to the state system from the inside, but for obvious reasons Yarvin cannot tell people this is the solution.

      I’m a moron and I poasted extensively on parasitizing the regime, that Moldbug can’t figure it out suggests he’s yet another Judas Goat.

      Endless rambling is another sign of either incompetence or malice.

      Speaking of which, what evidence is that that Moldbug is incompetent rather than malicious?


  10. Mike says:

    Ever since Moldbug became Yarvin it has become rather obvious that the quality of his insights has declined drastically. I think it is a bit dishonest to decry his theory of “passivism” though, at least the UR version. At the time (2009ish) it was a good take, as the right-wing was pretty much completely dead, toothless, and not to be trusted in any way. Trying anything was basically suicide. Its still suicidal in many cases even today of course, but there’s more right-wing institutional support than there once was+the leftist holiness spiral is getting too evil to ignore any longer.


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